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Initial Preparation Standard 1, Essay Example

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Essay

CEC Initial Preparation Standard 1: Learner Development and Individual Learning Differences

It makes sense that in an era when differentiated instruction is understood to be effective and important in the classroom, the first standard instructs educators to understand how learning occurs and how to construct knowledge, acquire skills, develop disciplined and know how to use instructional strategies that promotes student learning.  It would be impossible to offer differentiated instruction without first knowing how to take concrete steps to identify the differences among the members of the classroom population. This standard provides guidance to beginning special education teachers in understanding how differences in cognitive,linguistic,social,emotional and physical background has an impact  on students with exceptionalities, and also mandates that  teachers must assess individual and group in order to design and modify instruction to meet learner’s need in each area of development.

I understand I must develop appropriate instruction that takes into account individual learner’s strengths, interest, and needs and be able to know how learning occurs, howstudents construct their knowledge and acquire skills.  I demonstrated my understanding and achievement of this standard in several ways, as stated in SPED 7705 urban/multi-cultural issues. I understood differences in diverse cultures and communities which help me to have an inclusive learning environment, so that all learners can achieve and create instructional strategies to promote a stronger learning environment. I understand that I must develop and be able to modify my instruction to meet each learner’s needs.

CEC Initial Preparation Standard 2: Learning Environments

According to this standard, beginning special education professionals create “safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments so that individuals with exceptionalities become active and effective learners and develop emotional well-being, positive social interactions, and self-determination.” I understand that teachers must work with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning; I also understand that it is important to build learning experiences using strategies that foster self direction. As stated in SPED 6761child change project,teachers must know how to manage the learning environment by allocating and coordinating resources of student’stime, space and structuring the attention of student’s students.

I had opportunities to develop and display my understanding of this standard throughout my time in the classroom.  I understand how to design learning strategies, so my students can take ownership in their own learning. While all of these standards are applicable at all times, this is the one that must be at the forefront of ever decision made in the classroom. I always considered it imperative that I conduct a mental checklist each day, simply to make sure that all safety concerns related to the students were addressed before doing anything else. After that, I had opportunities both on my own and in collaboration with other teachers to help make the classroom a welcoming place for all students, including those with exceptionalities that made movement difficult. The primary intention was to ensure that the instructional materialsmatched the needs of the students, and that the classroom was a space where students felt comfortable. To ensure this, I often took opportunities to rearrange some environments in the classroom on a regular basis, with each movementbeingcoordinated with a specific project or classroom objective. This help keep the students engage andinterested.

CEC Initial Preparation Standard 3: Curricular Content Knowledge

It is critical that educators of all types utilize effective curricular content. This is especially relevant to special education teachers who must make every effort to understand the central concepts of required course content. It is my duty and responsibility to guide my students through the learning process and promote each student’s achievement of knowing the content standards.

One of the primary considerations I keep in mind about this standard is that there are several ethical guidelines and standards that are related to exceptional students. By reading about and understanding these guidelines, I am reminded of the importance of meeting the needs of such students. Special education teachers have particular and specific obligations to their students, and must adhere to the highest ethical standards in the ways they interact with them. This is the same for all teachers, of course, but is especially relevant when considering such a diverse population.  As stated in SPED 6723 practicum II, I must understand the main concepts,and structures that I teach to create learning experiences to make the discipline meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content. I understand I must have a deep knowledge of student’s content standards and learning progression in the discipline that I teach. I must also be fluent in the academic language of the discipline, and be able to integrate culturally relevant content to build on learner’s background knowledge.

CEC Initial Preparation Standard 4: Assessment

This standard pertains to the different methods that special education teachers use to make assessments of students in order to make informed educational decisions. It is imperative that special education teachers use assessments that are designed to minimize bias, and this requires that teachers educate themselves about the available assessment instruments, the applicable principles that guide their use, and how to interpret them to make sound decisions. For beginningteachers this should be a collaborative process that involves learning from more experienced educators and one that is flexible enough to meet the needs of all students. The underpinning concept driving any assessments is that their results be used to develop educational approaches that engage students with exceptionalities and offer a quality learning environment.

During the course of my study and time in the classroom I became familiar with a number of different assessment instruments. Among them was the DiagnosticAchievement Battery (DAB).As stated in SPED 7721, this assessment instrument was first developed to assess students across five skill areas (listening, speaking, reading, writing, and mathematics) in order to help identity and understand each student’s special needs. I became familiar with the DAB-3, which is designed to assess and measure student’s skills in these five areas, and is given to students between the age of 6 years and 14 years 11 months. I had the opportunity to offer the DAB-3 to students under the guidance of other professional, which allowed me to see what such an instrument was actually like in a real-world setting. This was an illustrative process for me, because I was able to understand the nature of this assessment as more than just a test. I was able see how the assessment could and would be used to help prepare instruction and teaching programs for individual students, which allowed me to really see the value of such a tool.

CEC Initial Preparation Standard 5: Instructional Planning and Strategies

This standard guides the manner in which special education teachers prepare instruction for students. The first standard makes it clear how important it is to identify and understand the differences in a diverse student population, but without instruction that is designed to match those differences, such understanding would be useless. Beginningspecial education teachers must learn to understand each individual’s background, and their unique abilities and skills. This process encompasses several steps, fromconducting formal assessments to getting to know students in aless formal manner; using appropriate tools and technologies to deliverassessments and to plan instruction; and to become familiar with specialized technology that individual students may need to assist them in the classroom (such as communication technology).

I had numerous opportunities to develop my understanding of this standard and to improve my skills relating to it. As stated in SPED 6766, I delivered a curriculum-based assessment to a student to measure his math skills; this assessment utilized the standard curriculum specifically because it allowed me to see the ways that the student’s skills aligned with the curriculum and general education expectations, as well as being able to see where the student’s skills were lacking. This further made it possible to develop a set of instructionalstrategies that were specifically designed to target the student’s shortcomings.  Similar assessments were planned and provided to this student on a regular basis so that his progress could be monitored and the effectiveness of his specificinstruction could also be assessed and modified as needed.

CEC Initial Preparation Standard 6: Professional Learning and Ethical Practice

This standard states that “Beginning special education professionals use foundational knowledge of the field and their professional Ethical Principles and Practice Standards to inform special education practice, to engage in lifelong learning, and to advance the profession.” While it may seem obvious that all educators must adhere to ethical principles, there are some specific principles which beginningspecial education teachers should understand and follow. At the core of these standards is the necessity of acknowledging and respecting the diversity of the students in the classroom. As noted in the first standard, some of the primary ways that students may differ from one another are in their cultural background, the languages they speak or write in, and their specific family background. For students with exceptionalities, they may have specific needs or requirements that do not fall under any of themain categories. Special education teachers have an ethicalobligation to understand the needs of every student.

I have demonstrated my development and understandingof this standard as stated in SPED 6721,related to standards and guidelines such as those provided by the Georgia Council for ExceptionalChildren and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. The standards, guidelines, and principles established by these organizations cover a broad area of teacher activity and teacher/student interaction. I had the opportunity to research and write about the standards and principles issued by the organizations, which gave me a conceptual framework to consider as I continued through my education. In practical terms I was able to manifest theseprinciples in the classroom by making a concerted effort to learn about individual students and to understand their background and exceptionalities.

CEC Initial Preparation Standard 7: Collaboration

This standard applies to the concept that education of students with exceptionalities should be a collaborative process. In order to ensure that the needs of a diversestudent population are met, there is more to the task than utilizing assessment tools and finding instructional materials. Teachers must collaborate with the families ofstudents, with other teachers, and with the student themselves to develop and deliver appropriate instruction. This also means that special education teachers must work with other service providers (such as, for example, those that provide assistive technology) and any other individuals or groups that can offer insight and contribute value to the process of teaching students with exceptionalities.

During the course of my education and time in the classroom I had numerousopportunities to develop my understandingof this standard and to apply it to the student in the classroom. As an example of this, I was included in the process of developing a student profile of a subject named “Emma.” This project made it necessary for me to speakand interact withmembers of the student’s family and with other teacherswho had worked with the student. This project allowed me to develop a much more complete picture of the student, which in turn made it possible to developdifferentiated and specific instructional plans. While it may not always be possible to engage in exactly this project with everystudent, the process of developing thisprofile did allow me to better understand how to apply this standard in the classroom setting.

Impact on Students, Families, and Colleagues:

As you know, teachers have a tremendous impact on student’s learning, including building individual characteristics, behavior management in the classroom, andhaving a strong knowledge in the content area. The greatest impact I have had on my students is having solid background knowledge in the subject area that I teach. This is critical to student’s success in the classroom.  Also, effective education leadership makes a difference in improving learning for our students. Our leaders must set clear goals and directions that everyone understands and establishing high expectations and use data to track progress and performance. They must provide teachers with the necessary support and training to succeed.

I am confident that I have had a notable positive impact on my students. I have seen students becoming more engaged in the learning process, and have been impressed and encouraged by how eager some students have been to participate more fully in classroom activities. I have also made a concerted effort to develop and maintain relationships with parents and family members, which I believe helps me be a better teacher and helps students and families be more engaged in the learning process. As I see it, cultivating strong teacher-student relationships and strong teacher-parent relationships helps to ensure that students are able to connect classroom instruction to real-world situations. This creates an environment where classroom instruction serves to support higher-order learning, and where the learning process becomes an integral part of every student’s life experience.

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